Be up close and personal with the indomitable Broadway icon Chita Rivera as she recreates signature moments from her legendary career in CHITA & FRIENDS, coming to the Carlsen Center, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 6. Tickets on sale now, http://www.jccc.edu/carlsen-center-presents/events/2018-2019/chita-friends.html or (913) 469-4445.
In this unique concert event, the two-time Tony Award winner will be joined on stage by Broadway stars Corey Cott and Telly Leung as her special guests to perform numbers from West Side Story; Sweet Charity; Chicago; Kiss of the Spider Woman; Bye, Bye, Birdie; The Rink; The Visit and more. Accompanied by a trio of superb Broadway musicians, the timeless music of Leonard Bernstein, Kander & Ebb, Charles Strouse & Lee Adams, Jerry Herman and Stephen Sondheim will also be featured.
A theatrical icon and one of Broadway’s greatest triple-threat talents, Chita Rivera is one of the most nominated performers in Tony Award history having earned 10 nominations, won twice and received the 2018 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. A versatile actress/singer/dancer, she recently starred inThe Visit, the final John Kander/Fred Ebb/Terrence McNally musical directed by John Doyle and choreographed by Graciela Daniele on Broadway, the Broadway revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the Broadway and touring productions of The Dancer’s Life, a dazzling new musical celebrating her spectacular career, written by Terrence McNally and directed by Graciela Daniele and the revival of the Broadway musical Nine with Antonio Banderas. She trained as a ballerina (from age nine) before receiving a scholarship to the School of American Ballet from the legendary choreographer George Balanchine. Chita’s first appearance (age 17) was as a principal dancer in Call Me Madam. Her electric performance as Anita in the original Broadway premiere of West Side Story brought her stardom, which she repeated in London. Her career is highlighted by starring roles in Bye Bye Birdie, The Rink (Tony Award), Chicago, Jerry’s Girls, Kiss of the Spider Woman (Tony Award), and the original Broadway casts of Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Seventh Heaven and Mr. Wonderful. On tour: Born Yesterday, The Rose Tattoo, Call Me Madam, Threepenny Opera, Sweet Charity, Kiss Me Kate, Zorba, Can-Can with The Rockettes. Chita was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009 and received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor in 2002. In 2018 she was honored as a Living Landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy; in 2016 she headlined at Carnegie Hall and in 2015, Great Performances aired their special Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ To Do, a retrospective of her extraordinary life and career nationally on PBS. Her current solo CD is entitled And Now I Swing. Her most treasured production is her daughter, singer/dancer/choreographer Lisa Mordente.
Corey Cott, a graduate of the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, has established himself as an actor both onstage and onscreen. His stage successes include creating the role of Donny Novitski in the Tony Award-winning musical Bandstand and two years in the role of Jack Kelly in Disney’s Newsies (Broadway debut), as well as playing Gaston Lachaille opposite Vanessa Hudgens in the Broadway revival of Gigi. On television, Cott portrayed writer Townsend Martin opposite Christina Ricci in the Amazon series “Z: The Beginning of Everything,” can be seen in a recurring role on “The Good Fight” (CBS All Access); co-starred alongside Hattie Morahan in the BBC/ PBS miniseries “My Mother and Other Strangers” and has guest-starred on” Madam Secretary,” “Public Morals,” and “Law and Order: SVU.” A native of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, he made his solo concert debut at the Kennedy Center’s ASCAP Centennial Celebration and starred in the National Symphony Orchestra’s West Side Story in Concert. He recently made his Carnegie Hall debut singing with the New York Pops. He will soon be seen on the new FOX series “Filthy Rich.”
Telly Leung is a New York City native. His Broadway and national touring credits include Aladdin in Disney’s Aladdin, In Transit, Allegiance (with George Takei & Lea Salonga), Godspell, Rent (final Broadway company), Wicked (Boq, original Chicago company), Pacific Overtures, Flower Drum Song. In 2010, he starred as Angel in RENT at the Hollywood Bowl opposite Wayne Brady, directed by Neil Patrick Harris. Television audiences will remember him as Wes the Warbler on “Glee”, as well as his guest star appearances on “Instinct”, “Odd Mom Out,” “Deadbeat” and “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.” Telly is featured on many original Broadway cast recordings and he has released two solo albums – I’ll Cover You (2012) and Songs for You (2016) on The Yellow Sound Label. BFA Carnegie Mellon University. Website: www.tellyleung.com. Twitter / Instagram: @tellyleung